The Statesman Journal’s obituary for long-time activist David Romprey. (Published from 8/6/2008 – 8/7/2008)

David Romprey

August 18, 1965 – July 30, 2008

The original obituary is available here.

SALEM – David Romprey,42, passed from this earth suddenly on July 30, 2008 near his home inSalem. David will be missed by loving family, faithful and supportivefriends, and a host of people who have yet to be impacted by his visionfor change.

Only 30 minutes after his birth, his heart stopped beatingfor 3 minutes. While his welfare hung in the balance, his Mother askedGod to spare his life that he would know he was alive for a veryspecial purpose. Robert E. Nikkel, Assistant Director of Oregon’sDepartment of Human Services, Addictions and Mental Health Division,has outlined a portion of David’s accomplishments which have fulfilledthis purpose.

During the last fifteen years, David played anincreasingly important role in reforming and transforming Oregon’scommunity mental health and state hospital system of care. He attendedhis first advocacy conference at the University of Oregon in 1991shortly after his discharge from Oregon State Hospital. He returned tocollege and completed his B.S. degree in Management and Communicationat Western Baptist College (now Corban College) in Salem in 1996. Hewas a longtime member of the state’s Mental Health Planning andManagement Advisory Council and served on the Trauma Subcommittee. Forthe past five years he served as an advisor to the Department of HumanServices Assistant Director for the Addictions and Mental HealthDivision.

David worked for, contracted with, or consulted for numerousorganizations including Marion County Mental Health, the Mid ValleyBehavioral Healthcare Network, Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc.,the Association of Oregon Community Mental Health Programs, MindFreedomInternational, and the National Empowerment Center in Cambridge,Massachusetts. He represented the Oregon Health and ScienceUniversity’s Center on Self Determination, the OregonConsumer/Survivors Coalition, and the Oregon Peer Response Network, theOregon Competitive Employment Project Leadership Council. He providedtestimony to Governor Kulongoski’s Mental Health Task Force in 2005,and in 2007, David provided consumer input into the state’s newintegrated electronic client medical records and data base. Mostrecently he provided written testimony to the Oregon Legislature’sJoint Committee on Oregon State Hospital Patient Care.

David activelypromoted peer supports, consumer choice and self-determination byplaying a key role in establishing a telephone warmline for ruralOregon and in creating one of the nation’s first Peer Bridgerinitiatives at Oregon State Hospital for which he was hired as thefirst coordinator. He served with Dr. Daniel Fisher of the NationalEmpowerment Center in late 2005 to provide on-site leadershipconsultation for victims of Hurricane’s Katrina and Rita in Louisiana.In 2008, he was named co-leader for the Addictions and Mental HealthDivision’s Wellness Initiative to increase quality of health and extendlifespans for Oregonians diagnosed with major mental illnesses. Davidalso provided expertise in consumer choice and recovery to replaceOregon State Hospital with new treatment facilities. Finally, he hadbegun assisting teaching about consumer perspectives at Oregon Healthand Science University’s Public Psychiatry Training Program’sInterdisciplinary Seminar to better train psychiatrists, psychiatricnurses, and social workers.

David was recognized many times for hisadvocacy and linking consumers with decision-makers. Just two examplesinclude the 2005 Oregon Mental Health Excellence Award and at the 21stNational Alternatives Conference in 2007 where he was given one of theGarrett Smith Memorial Awards. Oregon’s public mental health systemwill benefit for decades to come from David’s unwavering vision andperseverance.

Everyone connected with changing mental health servicesand supports will miss the inspiring leadership of David Romprey. AtEnglewood High School, Colorado, David excelled in journalism, trackand field, winning awards and breaking records. He was a member ofQuill and Scroll. During his teen years he spent two summers with TeenMissions, serving to help build churches in the Philippines. Whileserving with the United States Army and stationed in Germany, he againbroke records on the track field, for which he was offered ascholarship to University of Colorado in Boulder. He is a graduate ofWestern Bible College, Eugene Oregon and of Western Baptist Seminary ofSalem, magna cum laude.

David’s father and brother have predeceasedhim. His sister lives in Paris, France and his mother in California.. Asingle Dad, David leaves two children, Maxwell, age 11 and Eleanor, age8, both of Oregon. Services will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, August7 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1444 Liberty St. SE. in Salem.Donations may be made to the David Romprey Memorial Trust Fund, 1201Court St. NE., Suite 302, Salem, OR 97301 for Max and Eleanor.

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